Miniature sheet issued by the Isle of Sark Shipping Company in 1980, featuring five stamps depicting a map (5p) and various local scenes (10p, 15p, 25p, 50p) alongside an undenominated label bearing the company’s house flag.
U/M / Unmounted Mint / MNH / Mint Never Hinged.
Part of the Channel Islands, Sark is located seven miles east of Guernsey.
Previously, the Commodore Shipping Company, which held the contract to carry GPO mail on the Guernsey-Sark route between 1950 and 1969, issued its own carriage labels over that period. Like the issues of Herm, Lihou and other smaller Channel Islands, these issues ceased when Guernsey achieved its postal independence in 1969.
The same year, the Isle of Sark Shipping Company took over the contract for passenger and cargo services between Guernsey and Sark. In 1980, the company produced a set of five attractive stamps – available together in miniature sheet format, or printed separately in sheets of 25 each – and examples also exist overprinted for the 1981 Royal Wedding.
We haven’t yet been able to establish whether these 1980s stamps were, as one source suggests, “used to pay freight charges on parcels and small items of freight carried by the company between Guernsey and Sark and vice versa”, or whether they were issued purely as a souvenir with no postal function.